Pollinator Health and Pesticides
Butterflies dance from one flower to another while honey bees gather pollen to take back to the hive for the production of honey. This is pollination at its best, but pollination is also done by other bee species, some beetles, certain wasps, some flies, etc. There are over 4,000 species of bees in the U.S., in addition to the honey bee, that play an important role in pollinating many crops.
Keep in mind that pollination is vital to the production of seeds and fruits on many plants. Experts estimate that one-third of the human food supply depends on pollination. These pollinators are found on the blooming flowers of crops, trees, shrubs, weeds, and native vegetation where they gather nectar and pollen. Because these areas visited by pollinators are many of the same areas being treated with pesticides, much concern has developed for the safety of pollinators and a lot of press related to pollinator health has brought attention to this issue.
The Pollinator Protection Checklist
The coalition for Urban/Rural Environmental Stewardship has developed a Pollinator Protection Checklist to serve as a reminder of good practices to follow for all pesticide applicators.
- Read and follow all pesticide label directions and precautions.
- Determine if the pesticide may be toxic to pollinators.
- Understand local pollinator visitation habits.
- Use an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach.
- Always follow good pesticide stewardship practices.
- Cooperate and communicate with others who are concerned about preserving beneficial insects, including pollinators.
- Know the common symptoms of honey bee exposure to pesticides and what other stressors impact bee health.
- Check for specific local ordinances pertaining to pollinators, especially beehive locations or designated preserves (if applicable).
Learn More about Pollinator Health
- Penn State Center for Pollinator Research, Penn State Department of Entomology
This website contains the latest news, publications, events/seminars, public outreach, and many images.
- Protecting Bees and Other Pollinators from Pesticides , U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Pollinator Protection, Pesticide Environmental Stewardship
This sections in this module are targeted to the protection of honey bees but can be applied to all pollinators.
- Pollinator Conservation Resources: Mid-Atlantic Region and the Great Lakes Region, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
These website provides regional and national plant lists, conservation guides, pesticide guides, bee identification and monitoring resources, and more
- Certify Your Pollinator Friendly Garden with the Penn State Master Gardeners, Penn State Center for Pollinator Research
Learn the what you need to do to have a pollinator friendly garden and then apply to have it certified.
- Wild Pollinators of Eastern Apple Orchards and How to Conserve Them, Park, Mia., et al. Cornell University, Penn State, and The Xerces Society.
This 18-page, full-color guide helps readers identify wild pollinators, provide them with food and habitat, and avoid pesticides that are toxic to them. Includes the chart: "Toxicity of Pesticides to Bees (note: toxicity ratings based on honey bee tests)" on page 9 of the PDF file.
- Pollinators and Pesticide Stewardship, Coalition for Urban/Rural Environmental Stewardship
This publication provides more details related to the Pollinator Protection Checklist.
- Pollinator Health and Policy Seminar Series, Penn State Center for Pollinator Research
Some speakers gave permission for their seminars to be posted for online viewing on this website.
- Solitary Bees as Alternative Pollinators of Pennsylvania Fruit Crops, Penn State Department of Entomology
TitlePollinator Health and Pesticides
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